UK’s Sunak Says Rwanda Flights Plan Is Having a Deterrent Effect

(Bloomberg) -- Concerns that asylum seekers are relocating from the UK to the Republic of Ireland show that the British government’s plan for deportations to Rwanda is already acting as a deterrent to illegal immigration, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

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In an interview with Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips program, Sunak said that the legislation is “having an impact because people are worried about coming here.” The measure, passed by Parliament this week after months of heated debate, is viewed by the government as critical to stemming an influx of immigrants on small boats crossing the English Channel.

Sunak was commenting in response to concerns voiced by Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Micheal Martin that immigrants desperate to avoid being sent to Rwanda are traveling from Britain and seeking refuge in Ireland.

“If people come to our country illegally, but know that they won’t be able to stay, they’re much less likely to come, and that’s why the Rawanda scheme is so important,” said Sunak.

The prime minister said earlier this week that flights to Rwanda will begin in 10 to 12 weeks, though the plan may yet face a fresh round of last-minute legal challenges.

Read More: Why the UK’s Plan to Stop Migrants Depends on Rwanda: QuickTake

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